I woke up this morning in a foul mood. As I stomped around the kitchen, muttering under my breath, fighting back barks of anger with big grumpy sighs my husband asked me what was wrong. The truth was, simply put, I was knackered. So. Bloody. Tired. Baby Girl had woken up three times in the night and Frog had woken once, meaning I’d been woken up every one and a half hours through the night. Not that I was counting (I was).
Instead of just saying, “I’m really, really tired,” I launched into a tangent of what I thought was wrong at the time. The house was a mess. I had loads of work to do. The dishwasher hadn’t been emptied. The washing hadn’t been hung up. I had no time. I was sick of never having any time. etc etc. My tirade of grumpiness ended with me near to tears, as I said something I feel really bad about now. “I’m just really not happy. I don’t like my life today.”
Luckily for me I’m married to a man who knows me very well. He knows that I do, in fact, like my life very much and that I have a tendency to get stressed, angry and tearful when I’m really tired. He also knows the best way to get me out of that tired and grumpy rut. So I thought I’d share what I remembered today. It worked for me, it might work for you too.
1. Let shit go
Number one on the list of things to do when you’re so tired you feel utterly miserable is to hold your hands up Elsa Frozen style and let it all go. Lower your standards. Take some deep breaths and tell yourself it’s OK that the dishes haven’t been done straight away, it’s OK if the email hasn’t been answered, it’s OK if your house isn’t Insta-ready. As much as I regularly moan at the NLM for not being “proactive” and getting stuff done, his laid back attitude to this type of stuff can sometimes be quite refreshing. He’s right – no one’s going to die if the dishwasher hasn’t been emptied straight away. Get things into perspective.
2. Get outside
I have a habit of feeling panicked and claustrophobic if I’m tired and my To Do list is really long. As well as work stuff that makes me anxious, I get bogged down in things that need doing around the house. Whether it’s a DIY job that suddenly seems really important in my sleep-deprived brain, or a load of washing which still hasn’t made it to the airer, I see things that need to be done at every turn. Getting outside helps to reduce that panic and make me feel a bit normal again. Plus, it keeps the kids busy and less likely to trash the house I’m working so hard to make nice.
3. Take a moment for yourself
I knew we weren’t really going anywhere today but I made the effort to put on a bit of makeup and straighten my hair. For me, little things like this can make me feel a bit more human when I’m so tired my eyes are stinging. Failing the make-up, there’s always tea. Basically, find a small thing that you can do just for you and make sure you do it. a chocolate biscuit while the baby naps, a cup of tea while it’s still hot, a moment to brush your hair and put on some moisturiser. If it’s possible to do, do it, because those tiny things can make all the difference to your mood.
4. Stay away from the internet
This is a controversial one and obviously everyone’s different but, for me, when I’m feeling really low the last thing I want to see is a barrage of happiness on the internet. It just makes me feel dissatisfied with my life and lead to dangerous things like comparisons. For example, usually I love Instagram, but I know that if I’m in a certain mood I need to stay away from it. If I don’t I’ll just end up coming away even more grumpy as some poor, unsuspecting stranger on the internet has triggered my feelings of frustration simply by wearing a stylish outfit / having a tidy house / being on a nice holiday / having more likes on a photo than I do. It’s stupid and not stuff that’s worth getting annoyed about, but the truth is these ARE things that annoy me when I’ve had no sleep.
5. Talk about it
After my barrage of grumps at the husband this morning I felt instantly better. It’s a weird thing, but talking about stuff can really help to get things into perspective and shift your mood. Bottling things up (when you’re tired or at any other time) is never a good thing. That’s not to say that we should all go round shouting at our family just for being there, but there’s a certain liberation in owning your feelings and getting them off your chest. It could be writing a blog post (gawd knows I’ve done enough of those), venting to your best mate in a text, ringing your mum – whatever – don’t carry the burden alone if you can help it.
Oprah Winfrey I most certainly am not, and I don’t proclaim to be some kind of mindfulness expert or lifestyle guru, but I hope some of the above may help you if you find yourself in the position I was in this morning. If not then let me know what works for you. I’m always looking for new happy tricks (after all, it’s not really sociable to start on the wine at 7am is it?!).
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